Jul 22, 2014

Salmon Donburi Two Ways - Straight Up Sashimi and Torched Aburi Style

Have you ever heard of Japanese oyakodon? The name "oyako" implies parents and children, that's why oyakodon's two main ingredients are chicken and chicken eggs. The recipe we're making here carries the same concept, but instead of chicken, it's salmon oyakodon using sashimi grade salmon and salmon fish roe called ikura.


Ingredients (for two)?

Sushi rice:
  • 2 cups of sushi rice or short grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

  • 1 lb of sashimi grade salmon
  • 0.2 lb of ikura
  • 0.15 lb of black tobiko fish roe (other color works even better)
  • Some dried seaweed threads
  • Some wasabi (usually it'll come with sashimi salmon)
  • Some light soy sauce

How?

Sushi rice recipe can be found here from my previous blog post. It's a simple method for making sushi rice at home. Just remember not to overly fluff the grains to prevent the rice from turning into mochi-like texture. *Lesson learned from my mistakes.

Store bought dried seaweed threads might be hard to find. In that case, take larger pieces of dried seafood and chop into thin strips with very sharp knife, scissor works just as well.



Slice the salmon to about half inch thickness and torch half of the fish -



You'll know it's ready when the surface turned slightly burned and the smoky aburi aroma comes out -



Leave the other half the way it is -



Mix the tobiko together with ikura. The color combination actually looks better with green or yellow tobiko roe. However, I was curious about pitch black fish roe that was dyed with squid ink. As a result, the color further dimmed my orange ikura to a point of no return..

Scoop some sushi rice to a bowl. Evenly arrange the salmon slices around, one torched and one un-touched till the fish finally formed a circle (that's a lot of salmon! We are eating like kings and queens at home). Put the tobiko and ikura mixture in the center and top with dried seaweed threads. Put some wasabi on the side and serve with light soy sauce.



The tobiko and ikura mixture is on the salty side so give it a taste first before using the soy sauce. I'm sure this meal will give you a big boost in omega-3 fatty acids, which is very good for your heart!

Other similar recipe:
Festive Japanese food at home - colorful chirashi as easy as 1 2 3!

Jul 15, 2014

This Time, No Chicken Eggs, but Salted Duck Eggs for Chinese Fried Rice 鹹鴨蛋秋葵炒飯

Salted duck egg is one of the commonly used ingredients in Taiwanese cooking. It's a type of preserved product by soaking the duck eggs in highly salted water for few weeks. The eggs will then steamed, packed, and sold in grocery stores. 

You can crack the shell and serve the egg straight up, usually with porridge for breakfast. You can also crush the egg and cook in oil for few minutes to enhance the aroma. This will then be used as the base sauce or seasonings for other ingredients, the more common pairings are fried king oyster mushroom and fried shrimps.

For this recipe, I'm going to utilize the second method of cooking the salted eggs first then mix with my fried rice ingredients. It's nice to steer away from the regular chicken eggs and substitute with heavier tasting salted duck eggs once a while. 

Chinese fried rice with salted duck eggs, okra, and chicken -





Ingredients (for 3 to 4 portions)?

  • 5 chicken tenders
  • 12 okra
  • 2 salted duck eggs
  • 3 fresh red chilies plus extra for garnish
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups of steamed rice
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • Small pinch of salt
  • Small pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • Small pinch of white pepper powder
  • 1 small bundle of cilantro stems plus some leaves for garnish

How?

Cook 2 cups of white rice but use a little bit less water than usual. This way you'll get chewier freshly cooked grains, which is the texture we are looking for to use in fried rice recipe. Overnight leftover rice also works well.

Crack the duck egg shells and smash both the egg white and yolk in a small bowl. 


Remove the chili stems and finely chop the remaining. Remove the okra stems and slice the remaining. Peel and chop the onion into small square pieces. Peel and chop the carrot into tiny cubes. Discard the very bottom root of the cilantro and finely chop the remaining stems, save some leaves for garnish. Cut the chicken tender into smaller pieces, there's no need to marinate for this recipe. 

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan and turn to medium heat. Add in smashed duck eggs. It'll start bubbling slightly when heated up, make sure to stir constantly to prevent from burning. Wait till the color changes to darker yellow hue and the aroma comes out then scoop to a bowl for later use. 


Drizzle another 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan and turn to medium high heat. Add in chopped onion along with small pinch of salt and small pinch of black pepper. Give it a quick stir and cook till slightly browned on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add in the chilies and cilantro stems. The stems are tougher so need to cook earlier during the process.

Transfer the carrot into the mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Once done, add in the chicken and cook for 2 minutes, then okra for another 2 more minutes. 

Pour in the duck egg paste, pour in the soy sauce along the rim of the pan, the heat will draw out more soy aroma this way. Add a little bit of white pepper powder. Give the mixture a quick stir.

Add in cooked rice and lower the heat. Gently mix the ingredients together with the rice, making sure every grain are coated with the seasoning. You can tell by looking at the color of the rice. Try to break apart any white rice chunks if there's any. 


Lastly, garnish the fried rice with some chopped chilies and cilantro leaves before serving. Noted I didn't use much salt for this recipe since the duck eggs are salty enough. However, I added just a little bit of soy sauce to boost the aroma. 

Usually I prefer to use additional seasonings when eating fried rice, such as Sriracha or homemade chili sauce, but not this time! The salted duck egg really adds lots of flavors so the fried rice is pretty good just the way it is.

Other fried rice recipe:

Sirloin fried rice with crisp red onions and a hint of Japanese seasonings
Fried rice level up - Japanese omurice recipe
Fried rice with shirasu and tuna floss

Jul 8, 2014

Simple Chinese Stir Fry Using Bamboo Shoots and Asparagus (Something Light after 4th of July Weekend)

How's your 4th of July weekend? Spent a lot of time chilling, barbecuing, and hanging out with families and friends?

My long weekend break was filled with tons of unhealthy but man...delicious and satisfying food. How much I wish this break can go over and over again piled with fried munchies and melted chocolate. 

Unfortunately, it's time to face the reality and get the healthier diet back on track. Don't be sad, healthier doesn't necessarily mean dull and tasteless food. Salad might be hard to swallow after spoiling the palate and stomach with high oil content food over the weekend. So how about stir frying some veggies that are high in fiber, anti-oxidant vitamins, and low in calories?

Simple Chinese stir fry using bamboo shoots, asparagus, and pork loin strips -



Ingredients?


  • 2 bamboo shoots
  • 16 or 1 bundle of medium thickness asparagus
  • 0.5 lb of pork loin strips
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 red chilies
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese rice cooking wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Some water
  • Some sesame oil

How?

Marinate the pork loin strips with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine. Massage the meat for a little bit so the seasonings get to soak into the meat. 

Let's prepare other ingredients in the meantime. 


Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Discard the chili stems and chop the chilies into small pieces. 

Chop off the tough end roots from the asparagus, also see if the stalks need to be peeled slightly to remove any tough layer. Slice the asparagus with an angle/diagonally. 

Chop off the tough bottom section from the bamboo shoots and peel away the outer skin. The bamboo shoots usually will be about half of its original size after removing all the hard to chew parts. Slice the bamboo shoots then chop into strips. 

Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and turn to medium high heat. Add in the garlic, chilies, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Give it a quick stir.

Add in the pork strips along with its marinade. Cook till about half way through then add in the bamboo shoots and asparagus. Turn to high heat and stir fry for one minute. 

Drizzle in the soy sauce along the edge of the pan, so the heat will further help releasing the soy aroma. Cook for another minute. Pour in water till about 1/3 of the ingredients are submerged under the liquid. Cover the pan with a lid and cook till no more excess liquid is present, about 12 to 15 minutes depending on the heat.


Drizzle a little bit of sesame oil before serving. You can also sprinkle some white pepper powder if desired.


If you had too much meat over the weekend, these fibrous veggies will definitely come to rescue, if you know what I mean (wink*).

Other similar recipes:
Stir fry bamboo shoot cubes with marinated pork belly
Spicy and garlicky stir fry shrimps with asparagus and button mushrooms